-- A Texas man is giving pediatric cancer patients something to look forward to for Halloween: an array of brand new costumes to choose from.
Gage Mueller said he has loved Halloween since he was a child and this love is evident to anyone who sees his elaborately decorated Houston home. To spread holiday spirit, he has decided to raise money using GoFundMe to buy Halloween costumes for children at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Mueller told ABC News today.
“You could do whatever you want on Halloween,” Mueller said. “You can be whoever you want and you can just dress up and be somebody different.”
Mueller first reached out to the hospital asking if patients could leave for an hour to go trick-or-treating, he said, but was told this wouldn’t be possible because of patient safety and infection control. So, Mueller instead decided to "bring Halloween to the hospital."
The Halloween enthusiast and father of two partnered with Halloween Express to bring over 100 costumes, not only for the patients, but also their families.
“[The hospital] asked me to get a mixture of licensed costumes like Avengers, Spider-Man, Batman and a combination of wigs, masks, hats, face paints,” Mueller said. “Costumes are not cheap, so I started a GoFundMe page to see what we can raise.”
Mueller’s original goal was $3,000, but when he hit that in 10 days he raised it to $5,000. He has now exceeded that goal as well.
“He is giving them the childhood experience that a lot of times is taken away from them,” the hospital’s program manager Lauren Shinn told ABC News. “It means so much to patients and families because it’s one less thing to worry about.”
Ulysses Segovia, 16, has Rhabdomyosarcoma and said he wants to be a Jedi for Halloween.
“It’s really cool that groups come in and help us have a day to get our minds off of what’s happening," Segovia said. “Events help me meet new people who are going through the same thing I am, and I get to socialize with the friends I’ve already made here.”
For the hospital’s celebration, Shinn said patients will first pick out their costumes at “the costume shop” and will wear those costumes for a parade throughout the hospital hallways. The parade will finish at the hospital's Fall Festival, which has games and activities for the children to participate in.